(a) The commission shall be assigned to the Georgia Student Finance Commission for administrative purposes only. The commission shall be a budget unit of the executive branch of the state government.

(b) The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To establish and promulgate standards, rules, regulations, and policies for carrying out the provisions of this part and for the orderly operation of the commission. To effectuate the purposes of this part, the commission may request from any department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other agency of the state, and such agency shall provide such information as will enable the commission to exercise properly its powers and perform its duties under this part;

(2) To establish minimum criteria in conformity with Code Section 20-3-250.6, including quality of education, ethical and business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility which applicants for authorization to operate or for an agent’s permit shall meet before such authorization or permit may be issued, and to continue such authorization or permit in effect. The criteria to be developed under this paragraph shall be such as will effectuate the purposes of this part but will not unreasonably hinder legitimate educational innovation;

(3) To negotiate and enter into interstate reciprocity agreements with similar agencies in other states and with the United States Department of Education if, in the judgment of the commission, such agreements are or will be helpful in effectuating the purposes of this part; but nothing contained in any such reciprocity agreement shall be construed as limiting the commission’s or the executive director’s powers, duties, and responsibilities with respect to investigating independently or acting upon any application for authorization to operate or for renewal of such authorization to operate a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution, or upon an application for issuance or renewal of any agent’s permit, or with respect to the enforcement of any provision of this part, or of any of the rules or regulations promulgated under this part;

(4) To promulgate rules, regulations, and procedures necessary or appropriate for the conduct of its work and the implementation of this part, and to hold such hearings as it may deem advisable or as required by law in developing such rules, regulations, and procedures, or in aid of any investigation or inquiry;

(5) To delegate to the executive director such administrative powers and duties, in addition to those powers and duties of the executive director otherwise specified in this part, as may be reasonably necessary to carry out effectively this part and to establish such administrative organization and procedures as may be reasonably necessary to carry out this part;

(6) To exercise other powers and duties implied but not enumerated in this subsection but in conformity with this part which, in the judgment of the commission, are necessary in order to carry out this part;

(7) To submit annually to the House Higher Education Committee, to the House Education Committee and the Senate Education and Youth Committee, and to the Senate Higher Education Committee an annual written report summarizing the activities of the commission in regard to its responsibilities, activities, and administration of this part;

(8) To receive and hold title to property, equipment, money, and materials;

(9) To contract with other state, federal, or local public or private schools and other entities, individuals, or other legal entities for the provision of services or activities the commission deems necessary; and

(10) To establish and promulgate regulations for qualified proprietary institutions whose students receive tuition equalization grants in accordance with the criteria set forth in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of Code Section 20-3-411.

(c) The executive director of the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission shall be appointed by the Governor. The executive director shall administer the provisions of this part as provided in this subsection and as provided by rules, regulations, and policies of the commission. The executive director shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To employ such personnel as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this part and in connection therewith to develop job descriptions for such personnel;

(2) To receive, investigate as he may deem necessary, and act upon applications for authorization to operate nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions and upon applications for agents’ permits;

(3) To maintain separate lists of degree-granting nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions, nondegree-granting postsecondary educational institutions, and agents authorized to operate in this state under this part. Such lists shall be available for the information of the public;

(4) To receive and cause to be maintained as a permanent file copies of academic records in conformity with Code Section 20-3-250.17;

(5) To investigate as he may deem necessary on his own initiative or in response to any complaint lodged with him any person, group, or entity subject to, or reasonably believed by him to be subject to, the jurisdiction of this part; and, in connection therewith, to subpoena any persons, books, records, or documents pertaining to such investigation, which subpoenas shall be enforceable by any court of this state; to require answers in writing under oath to questions propounded by him; and to administer an oath or affirmation to any person in connection with any investigation; and

(6) To administer compliance with this part in accordance with standards, rules, regulations, and policies of the commission. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.5

(d) The commission shall establish separate listings for degree-granting institutions and nondegree-granting institutions. All standards, rules, regulations, and policies adopted by the commission pursuant to this part shall identify the listings to which such standards, rules, regulations, and policies are applicable.

(e) The commission shall be authorized to provide for biennial review of a previously authorized program of instruction at any institution which has received accreditation by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. The commission shall promulgate guidelines which shall be followed by the executive director in recommending such biennial program reviews to the commission.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 20-3-250.5, enacted by Ga. L. 1990, p. 1166, § 3; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1657, § 2; Ga. L. 1995, p. 265, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 728, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 20; Ga. L. 2009, p. 303, § 7/HB 117; Ga. L. 2011, p. 1, § 9/HB 326; Ga. L. 2015, p. 83, § 4/HB 353.

NOTES: THE 2011 AMENDMENT, effective March 15, 2011, substituted “subparagraph (B)” for “subparagraph (C)” at the end of paragraph (b)(10). See editor’s note for applicability. THE 2015 AMENDMENT, effective July 1, 2015, in subsection (d), substituted “listings” for “divisions” in the first and second sentences.